Thursday, August 23, 2012

Edinburgh Fringe & Tips On Drinking

Booze and the Comedy Fringe

Hey everyone! I've got lots of stuff coming up in the next few days including some mad photos, and another celebrity sighting. Actually, I'll give that to you now. Seth Green was running around the Underbelly at Bristo Square, wearing a mad hat. I think he thought it was a pork pie, but I thought it was more of the ooom-pah German band variety.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm at @AdamandtheKants. I will do my best to see some of the recommendations I have had from some really lovely CDAN readers!

But on to the drinking...

The best way of conveying the drinking experience in Edinburgh is to break down the categories of drinkers I see here every year. These are the main ones (if I have missed any, please feel free to add in the comments):

The students- They’ve saved up all year to afford a trip in which 17 of them share a studio flat for 4 days. They take up vast amounts of space (usually in front of the whole length of the bar) in a circle passing one pint around amongst all 17 of them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are sober though. They all downed 4 litres of 99pence White Lightening Super-Strength alcoholic cider (11.4% alcohol). Each. They are the ones whose vomit you will slip on later tonight.

The cultured continentals- these immaculately-dressed Europeans sit drinking expensive wine in beautiful little cafes. And they stop after a glass or two, because they drink to enjoy the taste, not to get drunk. Don’t ask me how they do this, I’m just as confused as you.

The first-time Americans- Now hold your horses, ‘Muricans. I am not saying that you can’t hold your drink. Many of you can. I am talking about the first timers who don’t understand how much stronger the beer can be over here. There’s an old joke that explains this: ‘American beer is like sex in a canoe...fucking close to water.’ Your Schlitz malt liquor is a lite beer over here. Most of these people will end up having at least 5-6 pints a night (even through the shows). You do the math. These people will be the ones making the unintelligible heckles and spilling their pints down your back when they trip over the speaker and lighting wires that are all over the place at the venues.

The whisky drinkers- Couldn’t tell you, because every time I seen them out (when I am drinking whisky) I don’t remember a thing.

The performing comedians- They are the most interesting lot. They all love a good drink. As the festival month progresses, they get more and more knackered, ill, pale (or yellow-tinged, depending on the fortitude of their livers). Yet they keep drinking. And drinking. The cumulative toll the drinking takes on them is most obvious in how they come out on the stage. On August 2nd, they bound out like Tigger on meth. By the 15th they walk out slowly carrying a bottle of water, slightly shaking their heads, silently reproving themselves for being so stupid by having ANOTHER night out till 3am but their hands were tied, because the rumor was Daniel Kitson was really going to show up at THIS party. By the 24th, they will be dragging themselves on stage, with the raw desperation and speed of a mother who’s just had a car accident in the middle of nowhere, paralysed herself, and still has to get up a hill to save her baby before the car explodes into flames.

The locals- Hard drinkin’ lovable bastards, the lot of them. For god’s sake, do not clog up their local pubs with your backpacks, your maps, and your complaining-about-the-smell-of-cigarette-smoke.

The rest of us- Drink too much Heineken/Staropramen on draft, and at the end of it, vow to never drink beer again. Till the train ride home, that is.

18 comments:

Munch said...

Smoking is banned in pubs in Edinburgh (in fact all of Scotland) - who would be complaining about cigarette smoke?

Also, you forgot about the Murricans left dazed and confused by an encounter with the local police - the shock of NOT being arrested for being publicly drunk and instead being asked if you are OK and if you know how to get back to your hotel can cause cultural bewilderment.

dia papaya said...

Drinking stories! Something I know a thing or two about...

Unfortunately, I would probably be one of the 'Muricans getting sloshed after 2 beers. Don't normally drink beer though. Prefer vodka and wouldn't want to get looked at all funny.

However, my last time in England I learned about The Shandy. A fine drink for ladies! I also love Port and Lemonade which I discovered at the Duke of Perth in Chicago.

*girl said...

Okay, this writing is weird. Use of the word "mad" twice in the same paragraph? Exclamation points to begin? Just feels... off.

rejectedcarebear said...

Its not Enty writing this. Its guest blogger Amanda!! I think.

trogdor said...

Hi,

As a world beer fan and maker, I would like to point out your inaccurate assessment of American beer. This myth was created when way, way back in the day, especially when the German guys started brewing top and bottom style ales and lagers in the 1800's, the U.S. used alcohol by weight, instead of alcohol by volume. AWB will always give a lower "percentage" since it takes into account density.

Many lagers today have converted to AVB, which Europe uses, and it turns out that American beer is on par with lagers and substantially higher when it comes to ales, stouts and microbrews. Budweiser, Miller and Coors (average lagers)are about 5% - 6% AVB depending on state (yes, they do vary by state!), which is also the average in Europe. Your Heineken and Czech Staropramen are also about 5-5.3% AVB. Curiously, Schiltz Malt liquor at it's lowest is 6.0% AVB and can go up to 9% AVB, depending on the Malt category (Regular vs Red Bull XL vs Blue Ice XL)

In other words if all you drink is Heineken Lager, Schiltz Malt will put you on your ass, in a hurry. This isn't a pissing contest, because if it were, the Belgians would win. The strongest beers in the world come from Belgium. Yup, Belgium. Their avg beer avb is about 7%. That's your avg beer you can grab from a corner store on your way to a movie or concert.

There are many variations of beer. Ales, Lagers, Stouts...etc, so saying one country produces weaker beer becomes tricky. For example, I'm willing to wager that you think Guinness is a higher AVB because it's darker. It's AVB is around 4.2%. Yup, Guinness is considerably "weaker" than your plain ol' can of Budweiser. Did you also know Dark Coffee has the weakest caffeine content? That's because both beer grains and coffee nuts have to be roasted considerably longer to make them dark and they end up losing particular content to heat in their respective processes.

In general, most beer in the world is around 5% AVB because it's reasonable, easy to produce consistently and still allows people to get drunk. Unless you're in Belgium.

So why does American beer taste 'Watery'? It is after all, why non-Americans think American beer is weaker. In short, no one really knows. Many of our popular lagers were made by Germans with European recipes, so I would say go ask a German. Some say it's because they use CO2 for shipping vast amounts, other that prohibition changed recipes or even that, the taste was lightened so women can enjoy it. I don't think anyone knows, it is what it is, but it still is a high AVB.


Links:

The 50 strongest beers in the world - 30 belong to Belgium. 5 American, 2 English

Fun intro to English/UK beers for Americans

Common Beer Myths

You can google much more info on beers.

Agent**It said...

@ trogdor , my kind of guy:)

Agent**It said...

@AdamandtheKants per Enty's note in his post.

Texshan said...

Am I the only one who couldn't care less about the Edinburgh Fringe?

jax said...

i don't care but i do appreciate the writing and effort it took.

LetLoveRule said...

I'd be the one enjoying a single drink, lol. How I do it? I don't know, the best I can say is that my stomach and head will (gently) cue me to stop.

To elaborate, I'll sense the beginning of a headache, experience the sensation of being just a bit full, and a a bit tired. If I want to feel good, I know it's time to stop.

dia papaya said...

Thanks Trogdor! Great lesson on beer :)

I'm enjoying the posts. Well written and gives me a break from criticizing stoopid starlets.

Suzanne said...

Loved the Edinburgh round-up. Would love to go!

feraltart said...

Makes me want to pack a bag. Really enjoying the posts and would love more in this vein from other festivals/events.

UnicornsRReal said...

@trogdor I heart you and your hearty beer analysis. cheers!

babo said...

@ Trogdor
As a Belgian, I truly appreciate that you made us justice with your knowledge!

Sian said...

I would be like the students, vodka not beer though. Was meant to be going clubbing last night but never ended up going in anywhere, we predrank too much and just ended up walking round town with random men. :(

doctressjulia said...

Wisconsin folks know ALLLL about beer. :D

If I had a way, I'd drink my way around the world!

Steph said...

Just got back from Scotland last night! Enjoyed a bit of the festival while in Edinburgh, total madness but fun.